NEWS

Fewer drug fatalities last year

There has been another reduction in drug deaths in Greece over the past year, according to official statistics released yesterday by the Public Order Ministry. Some 226 people died as a result of overdoses in 2003, down from 269 in 2002 and 334 the year before that. Of last year’s victims, 107 were aged 21-30 and 68 were over 31; 12 were under the age of 20. Most (172) were men. Heroin was responsible for 181 of the cases, and there were two deaths from cocaine and three from psychotropic drugs. The number of deaths in Attica was reduced to 103 from 161 the previous year, and to 33 from 50 in Thessaloniki. At the same time, more cases of possession of or trade in illegal substances were solved than at any time in the last decade (10,904 in 2003, compared to 9,820 in 2002 and just 2,243 in 1992). Also, 199 kilos of heroin were seized last year, along with 21,000 marijuana plants, five tons of unprocessed hashish (compared to 8 tons in 2001), 20 kilos of cocaine and over 467,000 ecstasy pills.